ISS Captured Sarychev Volcano Eruption

Sarychev Volcano erupted on June 12th, 2009 and was captured by the orbiting International Space Station and a few high-resolution images and a video were made available by NASA for you to be awed at.

A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev volcano (Russia’s Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain and is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island.

Prior to June 12, the last explosive eruption had occurred in 1989 with eruptions in 1986, 1976, 1954 and 1946 also producing lava flows. Commercial airline flights were diverted from the region to minimize the danger of engine failures from ash intake. This detailed photograph is exciting to volcanologists because it captures several phenomena that occur during the earliest stages of an explosive volcanic eruption.

The main column is one of a series of plumes that rose above Matua Island (48.1 degrees north latitude and 153.2 degrees east longitude) on June 12. The plume appears to be a combination of brown ash and white steam. The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance; the surrounding atmosphere has been shoved up by the shock wave of the eruption. The smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column, and is probably a transient feature (the eruption plume is starting to punch through). The structure also indicates that little to no shearing winds were present at the time to disrupt the plume. By contrast, a cloud of denser, gray ash — most probably a pyroclastic flow — appears to be hugging the ground, descending from the volcano summit. The rising eruption plume casts a shadow to the northwest of the island (bottom center). Brown ash at a lower altitude of the atmosphere spreads out above the ground at upper right. Low-level stratus clouds approach Matua Island from the east, wrapping around the lower slopes of the volcano. Only about 1.5 kilometers of the coastline of Matua Island (upper center) can be seen beneath the clouds and ash.

Sarychev Volcano erupting

Here’s a closer view:

Sarychev Volcano erupting

Slow Motion Shaolin Warriors

Slow motion Shaolin Warrior Monks: A human special this week on Slow Mo, as Sam and Si reveal what sets us apart from other primates, with some acrobatic help from the shaolin warriors. With limited time, and a new camera to play with, can they capture the lightning fast moves of the world’s most successful animal? Find out more about human anatomy.

Gawker Media’s Redesign Across the Network

The sites within the Gawker Media network, sites such as Gizmodo, Kotaku, and my favorite, Lifehacker have all seen a new design take place today. It’s an unconventional design, using modern technologies such as HTML5 to employ a more interactive interface. They claim it is lighter and faster, and they’ve written up a post on how to use the site.

The problem is, I hate it. Apparently I’m not the only one, as the web is abuzz with negative feedback on the redesign. You’d think as a web designer myself, that I’d support it. I’ve done my fair share of trying new, unconventional tricks on websites over the years. Yet I’d do this on my own personal sites, as a way to learn and find new, possibly better ways to present content. For Gawker Media to do this, where money is at stake, is inexcusable.

It’s just a bad business decision to try new ideas and then not test them before making it live. If it were tested with user feedback, I’m sure they would’ve seen the kinds of challenges visitors would face with the new design. Then they would’ve seen it being a bad idea in the end. Unfortunately, it is possible that someone’s ego got in the way of common sense, and usually this person is high up with the kind of power to not care what others think about the idea and the subsequent new design. This is something that needs to be looked at and considered by anyone who is hosting a website or doing any blog hosting. The feedback that you get from your users is very important and can often make or break your website or blog.

Normally I’d just find myself simply not visiting the sites in question. It’d be easier to find alternative websites with similar content and interests and just move on. However, one of my most favorite sites to visit happen to fall under that bad design — Lifehacker. I visit and read the site multiple times daily. I love their content, and make use of many of their tips and tricks to find ways to improve my life and make it more efficient. I’d really hate for this new design to hurt the site in the end, and cause it to fall apart.

As someone else said, perhaps this was inevitable. With the arrival of HTML5, many websites are now going to try to find new ways to present content to readers that, hopefully, benefits both parties; the website owner and the visitors. This had happened with the advent of XHTML and CSS, and we’re likely starting to see it happen with HTML5. It’ll just be a shame for good sites like Lifehacker to end up being a victim of it.

Pepsi Natural

Pepsi Natural

Such an awesome, minimal, and sleek design. I’ve been trying to get a couple; one to drink, one to save to admire the looks. The ingredients in this drink are: sparkling water, sugar, natural apple extract (color), caramel color, citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, kola nut extract. The sugar is a blend of cane sugar and beet sugar.

You can check to see if it’s available in your area.

Pepsi Natural

Image Credit: Teuobk on Flickr.